A few weeks back I took my daughter to the movies we went to see Guardians of the Galaxy. My kinda movie. I just loved the soundtrack brought back lots of memories.
During the movie this one character Groot moved in a way that for some odd reason Hamlet popped in my head. The only words he spoke were ‘I am groot’ I thought cool that would be an awesome shirt a tree playing Hamlet. So when I got home I set to work.
I took several images from the web as reference photos and started pulling in a sketch using my intuos (graphic tablet) I used the skull I had done for another shirt and just started painting with browns & oranges some yellow & greens. It took shape I was very happy with it. Took many hours of painting and fussing. Wish I could do simple but I just can’t leave something without all the shading and detail.
So I sent it off to print. As you can see it was dark. So I worked on it some more and uploaded the new image. You can find it for sale at RedBubble, Society6and Tee Public
I loved how it came out. But as is always the case with these types of images and characters someone always beats you to the punch. I have a tendency to just leave it and put it away thinking I was too late maybe next time I will be first but if I keep doing that I’ll never get work out there. It may be similar in concept to other artists but this one was all painted by me. So this time I said heck with it and posted.
This is a commission I just finished, for my daughter. This is her cat Oliver. I used 8 x 10 Canson Paper with soft pastel sticks. I also used a lot of pastel pencils.
Once I got all the base colours in I used the pencils for details and hair.
The funniest part was every time I sat to paint Oliver would lay right next to me on the shelf unit watching me. I think he wanted to make sure I captured his likeness properly.
I have always had an issue with coloured pencils; I just couldn’t get the colours or the blending right. So it’s been my mission lately to keep working with them to refine my craft and learn other mediums. I have seen so many wonderful images done in coloured pencil that I really want to learn to create beautiful images, not to mention it’s soo easy for travel compared to Pastels. I also want to create more work so that I have something to offer when I finally finish setting up my Etsy store, as part of the point of all of this is to start a good freelance Art and Design Studio.
I choose 2 projects to work on. I took this great photo with my iPhone, I wish it had been with my trusty camera I would of had more pixels to work with for a print but alas like me its age is showing and it has decided it’s time, ‘sigh’ ‘sniff’ ‘sniff’.
Project one…..To recreate this image with pencil. I used Canson Pastel Paper because it has two sides rough and smooth, I used the smooth, white. I pulled the pencils needed and using my phone with the reference photo set to work. I knew I didn’t have all of the colours so this is where trying the blending was going to come in. I loved the fact I could sit on the couch in front of the TV with a cuppa rosy and work on this project. I spent some time each evening and this is what I came up with. I really like it; it didn’t come out quite as bad as I was thinking it might, per my previous forays into the coloured pencil realm.
As you may or may not know I’ve been playing with sanded pastel paper. It started with Nell the horse and went on to Brown Eye Susan (one of my favourite paintings yet) and I really enjoyed the paper and it’s very rough texture and its ability to take punishment.
Well, I decided to try a portrait on this paper, from my past paintings I wasn’t sure portraits would work. The paper didn’t seem to lend itself to details. My daughters friend has a real cutie, Desmond. So after sorting through some photos I found one I liked. I started with the sanded paper and started to sketch.
However I really had a hard time blending the skin tones on this paper I kept walking away coming back making changes but ugh! I got to a point where I just had the base colours in and just could’nt get it to work.
So the photo is all that remains. It went out with the trash.
I have a hard time with throwing out art I figure if I keep it I can fix it. So this is a step forward for me, some might not, but it takes a lot to throw away a piece of art that you created.
So, back to the drawing board. This time I used Canson Pastel paper this had always been my go to paper for my pastel work before I started the sanded experiments.
Much better, although you can see the texture of the paper, which I don’t mind I like the extra depth it gives and the blending for hair (baby fluff) and skin tones was much better. I was very happy with the outcome. I think I captured Desmond and his cute little face.
I also did the marketing thing as well and posted it on my Facebook page and twitter hoping that I can get some commissions for portraits. Part of my ongoing plan is to try and market myself more.
I also do it because I love it! I do enjoy painting people and animals I get such pleasure from seeing the faces come alive on the paper not to mention the faces of the people I do the work for.
I am still playing with that #Pastel sanded paper that I bought. I bought 2 sheets, they were a medium brown colour. They actually look and feel just like sandpaper from the hardware store. I have always used the Basic paper that works for pastels, has a little tooth.
I am on my second painting, I cut the paper in half the first half I used for Nell
my painting of my sister’s horse, this time I decided to try something floral. My wonderful daughter takes breathtaking photos, I use some of these for my inspiration.
I did this painting with soft pastel sticks and used some soft pastel pencils for the finer details. This paper is great it takes so much punishment everything blends well and you can just keep adding more and more layers and you don’t need to fix it first (this means adding a solution so the pastel is no longer loose and chalky). What are the fall backs? Well, I have found it does wear down your pastels very quickly and the brush blending I had used before doesn’t really work well on this paper.
The usual Canson Mi-Teintes that most artists use covers well too. I can take brushes when doing hair and get a great sweep and texture that looks like hair, but I have found you can see the paper detail and you cannot add lots of layers without using fixative to seal each layer. But your pastels will last longer.
So here is the finished painting, Brown Eye Susan
So for me I think I rather prefer the Sanded paper for things like nature and landscape, but maybe for portraits maybe the Canson paper. I think a little more testing is needed 🙂